Knowing when to Quit

One of the greatest lies you will ever hear from a motivational speaker is that “Winners never Quit.” According to some people, anyone who quits is forever doomed to join the inescapable path of losers. Such a person, they claim, is not suited for greatness. That’s a lie. Productive people know to leave a goal when it is no longer serving their interest.

What was important three years ago might seem trivial now. Sometimes people start goals in good faith. They set up systems to achieve them and for some time, things run more or less smoothly. Then one day, they begin asking themselves if the goal is worth it anymore. This is not a bad thing. Productivity is about focusing on the things that matter to you. It’s about knowing what adds the most value to you. Perhaps three years ago, a long-term goal made sense but now you struggle to rationalise why you should complete it.

Is it still worth doing now?

Some people find that their priorities have changed. Family commitments might mean they no longer have the same energy and time to actively pursue a goal. In this case, their family has become the new priority. As long as you know this is what you chose for yourself and you are happy with the tradeoff, then there is nothing wrong with dropping a goal.

The greatest disservice you can do to yourself is to complete a goal just because you have set it. A key principle of goal-setting is that the goal must have a powerful why behind it. Every goal requires a driving force. Without that force, completing tasks related to that goal become torture and even if you achieving it, there is no guarantee it will make you happy. That you have spent so much time or money towards achieving a goal is not a good enough reason to complete it.

It may have seemed like a good idea

Manufacturing companies actively work to avoid pushing an experimental new product to the market simply because they have spent so much money in its development. If they discover during customer testing and trials that the product is not likely to bring in any money, they axe it. They don’t throw in good research money after bad. They accept it was a bad product idea and take what lessons they can from it. Perhaps it is time you took that approach towards some of your goals, instead of feeling guilty about them.

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